The Bass Geek - Words about Music, Circuitry, and New Orleans
The Bass Geek

Refreshing The Pedal Board

My old Digitech Bass Whammy pedal never saw too much action - it was good here and there for a special gig, but mostly it sat in my office waiting for said special gigs. And I'm feeling the urge to try out some different effects - effects I want to use on all gigs and not just weird occasions. So here's my pedalboard version of the Herschel Walker trade - the bass whammy pedal is on the auction block, and I'm going to be trying out some new boxes to see what's going on.

Distortion and some sort of wah or filter are definitely in the plans (EBS and Moog boxes are leading here), and I'm thinking maybe a chorus as well. Compression comes built in with the Trace Elliot amp, so I'm covered there. From there, I'm looking at maybe a preamp and new pickups for the Jazz bass. There's a lot of options here.

I'm also open to the possibility of a Line 6 unit of some sort, although I'm not sure how much I like amp modeling going into another amp I already like the sound of.

All of this, however, is contingent on the sale of the bass whammy pedal. So take a look and make a bid if you're interested. It's going to find a good home somewhere.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio hosts the second annual Battle of the Media Bands tonight. Not content to wage their war in print or over the air, these bands are taking it to the stage to benefit the Society for Professional Journalists. Plenty of music, and maybe even a meltdown of Glenn Beck proportions. Participating in this bloodbath of scoops and anonymous sources are The Odyssey Favor, Weeds of Eden, and many more. Saturday slows it down a little with David Moore.

The Vollrath Tavern gets loud, slow and riffy tonight with Devil To Pay, So Sayeth, White Witch Canyon, and Supergiant. Kaiser Cartel returns to Indy for their first Vollrath show on Saturday, along with Fearsome Sparrow and Elsinore.

It's Swing Night tonight at the Fountain Square Theater, there's jazz at Maria's Pizza Friday and Saturday, and live acoustic music fills the room at Deano's Vino this weekend, too. Enjoy!


Last-Minute Gig

If you happen to be headed towards the Fountain Square area this evening, you can catch me subbing for Dorsey's bassist ('cause, you know, we tend to wander off) at Radio Radio this evening, as the band opens for Phonograph.

Makes me feel a little less foolish for going a little overboard on cleaning my Jazz bass this weekend and putting on a new pickguard. I can't call it spring cleaning - it just looked like it needed some help. At least now, there's a good reason. And I simply can't overstate the wonderful situation that is playing a great venue just a short walk from your house that greets you with Sprecher's Root Beer. If only all the gigs could be that great.

Doors at 8pm, and I believe we kick off around 9pm.


New IMN Podcast is Up, and Getting Online Radio On The Go

The new IMN podcast is up - download it here or listen at the site or on WFYI Thursdays at 4pm.

If you've got an iPhone, I can heartily recommend getting the NPR app to go along with it, primarily because it gives you an easy connection to WFYI HD2 over a 3G or wi-fi network wherever you are. Pair that with the WOXY app and various, Pandora, and other services, and it's like having a portable radio that can pick up all manner of stations from across the world. As long as the battery lasts, that is. Gotta work on that. Still, I'm loving these apps and the accessibility. Toss in Simplify or another remote media access program, and all you'll ever need is a portable media device and a good pair of headphones.

Maybe an extra battery pack.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio features the Leave It To Cleaver cancer benefit tonight with Jon Martin, Gene Deer, TMFC, Cari Ray, Carrie Pietz & The Sunny Dispositions, and Jessica Ruth Curtis. NEEDTOBREATHE and Griffin House come in Saturday, and Band of Skulls and We Are Hex close out the weekend show Sunday.

The Vollrath Tavern hosts Mucca Pazza, Baby Teeth and my very own Playboy Psychonauts tonight - come find out how we stuff a marching band into this venue. Heatwave II takes over Saturday night with Scotty Matelic, Thomas Crowne, and Andy D. Finally, Bears of Blue River and Accordions play Sunday.

Finally, Deano's Vino hosts acoustic music Fridays and Saturdays, while Maria's Pizza has live jazz this weekend. Enjoy!


New IMN Podcast Is Up, and a Free Sample

The new IMN podcast is ready for a listen - get it here or listen at the site or on WFYI HD-2 Thursdays at 4pm.

Also, check out the Midwest Emerging Artists's new sampler - the Playboy Psychonauts are fortunate enough to have a track on there (among many other great artists). You can pick up your copy at many of the Indy Fringe Fest events going on this week on Massachusetts Avenue or at the Hero House Comics store right here in Fountain Square (just picked up a used Akira DVD there this very evening).

Finally, the Playboy Psychonauts are playing the Fringe Fest's opening party tonight - the festivities kick off around 6pm at the corner of College and Massachusetts avenues with a mayoral speech of some sort, a parade, a Gong Show, and then us. That's a full evening, really.


What is the New Album?

Between the new Apple project Cocktail and a effort from the major labels called CMX, it looks like there's going to be at least a couple of new ways to experience music on your computer and your portable media device. Toss in bands and artists developing their own apps for smartphones, and you've got all kinds of options for customizing the way musicians can interact with their audience.

That said, there are some requirements that, although I doubt these will come to be, should be present in any new album format.

  1. Interoperability - no matter what computer, device, or media player the consumer chooses to use, the new format should function without issue. I'm not saying that it has to work the same way on all devices. Obviously, a small player with no video screen shouldn't be expected to show liner notes and the like. But it should still be able to play the audio.
  2. Lack of DRM - part of interoperability means that it has to play on everything without running into problems with digital rights management. Amazon, eMusic and iTunes have all dropped it, so don't try to sneak it back in now.
  3. Lack of gimmicks - if we learned anything from enhanced CDs, it's that cheesy games tossed in as an afterthought don't make an album package special. Take some time and put the care and effort into these features that they deserve.

There's more to do with albums than string together a bunch of electronic documents in addition to audio files, but I don't want to have to buy a new player or computer every time a format changes. I'm intrigued by the possibilities, but don't make it difficult to adopt. The music industry doesn't need to make itself any more difficult right now.

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Techno Bass Porn

Industrial Radio BassThe first time I heard of the new Industrial Radio bass and the MIDI sensors in the fretwire of its neck, I thought "Didn't they already try this with the Peavey MIDI- and Cyberbass?" So it makes sense that the person behind said new bass is behind those two previous models. However, this model features some additional sensors and promises latency on par with some synthesizer keyboards. I'm not sure the DX7 is the best model to choose, but less than 12ms latency isn't bad. I'll be interested in seeing how that stacks up against the MIDI pickup on my Jazz bass. The pickup is far less expensive than the $4000 price tag for the Industrial Radio bass, and for that price, the bass needs to play well in addition to providing an accurate MIDI signal. If it can provide everything it promises, though, it might even be worth it. At the least, it'd be a fun (if expensive) toy to have in your stable.

Speaking of fun and expensive, the seemingly annual bass meet-up at Fionn McCool's in Fishers turned out well, and the instruments present seemed to outnumber the participants by about 5 to 1. It was great to get my hands on some lovely boutique models and give them a test drive. Plus, it's always great to hang out with some other bassists and talk shop. I noticed most of the players were gravitating towards the smaller amps (MarkBass was quite well represented), and some Mesa and Epifani gear performed quite well, too. It seems we might be outgrowing our place at the bar (and getting a little noisy, to boot), but all signs point to another event next year.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Oh, GenCon. Thank you so much for bringing your afterparties to Indianapolis (Radio Radio, to be specific). Saturday night, you give us the Gothsicles with Dark Clan, and we are appreciative. The night before, check out The Last Four Digits, the long-running Vulgar Boatmen, and Large Damaging Hail. The musical act, not the weather event.

The Vollrath Tavern presents These United States and Howlies with Adam Kuhn tomorrow night. Saturday brings the Garage Punk Freakout II. 'Cause once you've done one, it's necessary to continue the process.

Deano's Vino has acoustic music all weekend long, Maria's Pizza has live jazz Friday and Saturday, and the Fountain Square Theater presents Swing Night with the Tim Brickley Quintet tonight. Have fun!


New IMN Podcast Is Up, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are Back

The new IMN podcast is up - download it here or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2 Thursdays at 4pm.

And it was great to see the rookies make their case in the Steelers' first preseason game. Some of them will go on, some of them will not. That's the magic of the preseason, really - so many players, so few chances. It's unpredictable and a little bland, but you don't just jump to the main course in a fine dinner. These are the appetizers of fall, if you will. And they're probably the only games my dog will be able to sleep through. The real screaming doesn't begin until after Labor Day.